Zohreh Sadeghi India and Beyond

On the way to India

I had a long and exhausting 16 hour flight to Dubai. I had a window seat and next to me sat this really cute but loud older Gujarati couple. They were sweet and immediately started talking to me. The lady barely looked at me at first and kept putting her head down and giggling as if she’s a 16 year old teenager who’s seeing her suitor for the first time and she actually kind of likes him to her surprise. First words out of her mouth were “you’re pretty” followed by the husband saying “yes yes so pretty”, and she continued “yes, so so so pretty, my god”. At this point I was blushing and felt a little awkward so I attempted to change the subject by talking about the weather in Los Angeles, lame attempt I know, who cared about the weather in LA, we were leaving LA after all!
His name was Pravin and hers Vibha. They lived in Los Angeles, he for the past 40 years and she I have no idea, it never came up. It seemed they had married at an older age and they had one child, an adopted daughter I believe. They asked about my profession and the reason I was headed to India. And they of course knew all about Ayurveda. Pravin was a Leukemia survivor, a short bald man with large eyes and rather small glasses. There was a nervous energy about him, he seemed anxious all the times. He couldn’t stop moving around on the plane and constantly wanted to eat. The Ayurvedic practitioner in me immediately diagnosed him as having too much Vata in the mind and too much Pitta in his digestive tract. He seemed uncomfortable at all times.
Vibha on the other hand had a very soothing demeanor, she seemed very nice and relaxed and smiled all the times. Well this was until she was given her meal which she had specified as a “Hindu meal” not knowing it didn’t necessarily mean a vegetarian meal, at least not on Emirates, she was strictly a vegetarian so when the plate of chicken with shrimp salad was put in front of her she lost her cool and demanded the flight attendants to remove the food immediately. Poor thing I never judged her for her behavior, I understood! I probably would have done the same thing but I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few years and she all her life, she was born one and she was a practicing Hindu and very religious. I took a glimpse of the inside of her purse when she lifted it to take some things out she had books after books with Ganesha, Ram, Krishna on the cover, plus some other Gods unknown to me. And she attempted to talk to me about their stories many times, I listened to most of what she was saying but understood only half, her English was very poor.
Pravin opened up to me later asking for my help! He told me he had trouble sleeping at nights and that he always had fear and anxiety on the mind, he was always fearful of something. I asked him where the root of it was and how long ago had it started. He told me he’s been having these issues ever since he started doing Chemotherapy and radiation. His voice just dropped the minute he said Chemo, my heart stopped for a moment. I felt his sadness, for one split moment I was inside his brain and his heart feeling his pain, my heart started to hurt. I just sat there and listened. Vibha had gone to take another empty seat that was more comfortable so it was just me and him. He kept asking for my help but I felt helpless. Here was this man, a cancer survivor reaching out to me and yet I couldn’t help him, all I could do was listen to him. I was not about to take his pulse and recommend any herbs to him eventhough in my mind I knew exactly what could help him, I knew the names of the herbs and kept repeating them to myself but I couldn’t take the risk. I didn’t know his body type and his entire history, who knows how he would react to my herbs? So at the end I just gave him some recommendations, a few Yoga postures, some Pranayama practices, meditation and lots of Chamomile tea before bed time. And I told him he should see an Ayurvedic doctor either in India or LA!
When Vibha came back, Pravin started speaking with her, they were talking Gujarati so I didn’t understand a thing but I could tell he was in pain. He was suffering from back pain. She put a pillow on her lap and told him to rest his head on it, he did just that and what came next was pure love. It was so much love it brought tears to my eyes. She started stroking his bald head, eventually turning her strokes into perfect circles going around his head over and over and over. She had a smile on her face the whole time she was doing it. It was such a beautiful sight I couldn’t look away. It’s witnessing moments like this that makes one hopeful true love does exist and the world is not all bad. People could love each other unconditionally and be there for each other, it could happen!
Half way through the flight I started developing this sharp stomach pain, it happens to me every time I fly. It was terrible and kept getting worse to a point I couldn’t sit still anymore and I couldn’t carry on a conversation. I spoke to the flight attendants and they gave me couple of pain killers and a hot water bottle. I was standing at the back of the plane holding the hot water bottle to my stomach and drinking hot water looking miserable when this older man decided to stand next to me and start a conversation. I was not feeling it let me tell you, I was in so much pain I could hardly speak. He constantly asked me questions about my profession, where I lived, etc. I didn’t want to be rude and walk away so I stood there and went along with it trying to keep a smile on my face. It wasn’t easy and at some point I told him that I was sorry I wasn’t very talkative cause I was in pain, he completely ignored my comment and carried on with his conversation. A flight attendant passed by and gave me a smile. After a 10 minute long and painful conversation I finally decided to move to the other side of the plane so I excused myself and made my escape. That same flight attendant came to me and smiled and told me she knew I didn’t want to talk to that guy, she saw it in my eyes. I laughed, I guess us women can communicate with each other through our eyes and our eyes only, it must be some sort of a universal language for all female species. I feel like I should write a book about it and title it “What lies beneath her eyes” or something like that!

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